‘The citizens deserve the service’: Prestonsburg adds ambulance service to town’s fire department

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Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 11:08 PM EDT
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - On Tuesday evening at the Mountain Arts Center, officials with the city of Prestonsburg announced its new ambulance service which adds an advanced life support and basic life support unit to the town’s fire department.

The decision to add the service came after officials noticed extended wait times with two existing ambulance services due to personnel shortages.

“Our fire department gets to the scene in three to six minutes and they’re administering first aid, they’re going through the process, they’re literally packaging them for transport then we have to wait on the ambulance to get there, and sometimes it’s been 40, 45, 50 minutes,” said Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton. “It’s not because any other ambulance service has bad quality. They have great service. It’s just limited personnel and we had the personnel here at City Hall... in our fire department.”

Firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics with the Prestonsburg Fire Department began reaching out to officials about adding the service to service within the city limits. This addition will hopefully cut down on wait times across the county.

“We decided that if we could have an ambulance at the city of Prestonsburg and cover just 911 calls, that it would free up these other two agencies to be able to do 911 calls out in the county, transfers, and other emergencies that are not in the city limits of Prestonsburg,” said EMS Director and Prestonsburg FD paramedic Celine Thomas.

Officials add that even officers with the Prestonsburg Police Department are stepping in and filling part-time roles as EMTs on the two ambulances. Stepping up to provide a valuable service for the community they serve.

“I think it’s an awesome, awesome thing to add to the community,” said Prestonsburg FD Firefighter/EMT Tyler Sparks. “It’s going to be a very, very big asset to the citizens of Prestonsburg and everyone even passing through. The citizens deserve the service.”

Mayor Stapleton added that the process to acquire an ambulance service for the city was a long one but was made possible due to the passing of HB 777 and with help from the Kentucky League of Cities.